Real Upper East Side mums: We've never heard of the 'wife bonus'

Everyone’s been talking about anthropologist Wednesday Martin’s article in the New York Times Sunday Review sectionabout “wife bonuses.”

According to Martin, some of New York City’s Upper East Side mums get a performance-based year-end bonus that is determined by their investment banker/hedge-fund manager husbands.

Martin calls these mums Glam SAHMs (glamorous stay-at-home-mums). She says they that reside west of Lexington Avenue, above 63rd street and below 94th street.

Our Wall Street sources aren’t buying the wife bonus as a real thing.

But what about actual Upper East Side mums? What do they think of the story?

There’s a private Facebook group where many of them have been talking about it.

We gained access to this group, and learned that most of the mums say that world Martin describes is not their reality:

  • Women get a portion of their husband’s bonuses, sure. But their portion isn’t based on performance. “I don’t get a wife bonus and I don’t know many who do, so I’m no expert, but it’s not such a crazy concept for those I know that do receive them. Their husbands make x amount of income, of which they’re budgeted a portion, and then x amount of bonus, of which they’re budgeted a portion. And in some professions, the bonus is much more substantial than the base salary so their portion of a bonus would be a big deal to them. I’ve never heard of it relating to “performance,” the difference seems to be whether each partner has a yearly or monthly budget that’s spelled out or not.”
  • A bonus doesn’t sound so bad. “Someone needs to tell my husband about the wife bonus LOL.”
  • Money is nice, but respect is better. “But the thing is – why does the wife need a ‘bonus?’ Don’t wives often share bank accounts with their husbands? To me, this sounds like funds are somehow “withheld” from the wives unless they fulfil their wifely/motherly “duties.” I work, but still do more childcare/stuff around the house/errands than my husband…I don’t want/expect to be monetarily compensated; I just want what I do to be appreciated.”
  • Staying at home is hard work. “SAHM should be changed to WAHM (work at home mums) because our job at home doesn’t end. That bonus sounds good but like many of you I agree that it’s a bit off. What sucks is that society has more respect for women who go back to work after 3 months then women who choose to stay home.”
  • The ‘wife bonus’ sounds like a joke term. “I’m inclined to believe the women use the term “wife bonus” tongue-in-cheek, sort of how I calculated the cost of formula to see how much I “saved” us by nursing to see how much of a splurge I was entitled to. I think it’s just fun and games. Everyone knows the family money is for everyone.”

One mum, however, said the concept of a wife bonus doesn’t sound “ludicrous.”

  • “I don’t find a wife bonus that ludicrous. I have plenty of friends who receive push presents and find the concept similar…I think if the working partner receives a bonus at the office the co-at home but working mother should share in that bonus.”

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